OPINION

Annual IASB Convention to be held Nov. 20-21

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

More than 1,200 school and AEA board members and administrators from across the state gathered Wednesday and Thursday, Nov. 20 and 21, for the 68th Annual Convention of the Iowa Association of School Boards at the Iowa Events Center. This year’s schedule included programs of interest to districts of all sizes, as well as nationally-renowned keynote speakers Yong Zhao, Kevin Honeycutt and Scott McLeod. Roland-Story school board members Boyd Brodie, Marc Soderstrum, Mike Retallick, Michaela Carlson and Ted Hammes were scheduled to attend some of the events at this year’s convention.

The challenges of keeping up with changes in the world of education and technology are many and the learning curve is steep, but the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of Iowa students has never been greater. The IASB Convention offered information, ideas and strategies that those who attended could take back and use immediately at their board tables.

Events of interest included:

*Delegate Assembly - Representatives from school and AEA boards in Iowa gathered Wednesday at 9 a.m. to vote on this year’s legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

*School Finance Boot Camp - On Wednesday, more than 450 Iowa school board members and education leaders attended three levels of in-depth finance training sessions to learn about school budgets in the current financial environment.

*Nationally recognized keynote speakers - Noted author, educator and speaker Yong Zhao talked during the Opening General Session (8:15-9:30 a.m. Thursday) about “Creative, Entrepreneurial and Global: Creating 21st Century Learners” and shared his approach to producing creative and entrepreneurial graduates who are prepared to tackle the opportunities of tomorrow. Technology integrationist and Kansas school board member Kevin Honeycutt spoke during the Second General Session (noon-12:50 p.m.) about “Teaching Wired Learners: What School Board Members Need to Know.” For the Closing General Session, Honeycutt returned to the stage, joined by Prairie Lakes AEA Director of Innovation Scott McLeod, to discuss “Visionary Leadership: Learning to See Possibility.”

*Education sessions - Experts from near and far offered 36 education sessions on topics dealing with finance, communication, legislative advocacy, technology, open meetings and public records, competency-based education, collective bargaining and much more.

*Networking Discussions - 27 tables of networking opportunities were offered throughout the day Thursday on a variety of topics as far-ranging as operational sharing, building a strong board/superintendent team, alumni fundraising, Response to Intervention (RtI), the role of the board president and much more.

*Awards to deserving boards who are making a difference for students - They included the annual Boards Making a Difference Award, which goes to Council Bluffs, Independence and Lynnville-Sully; and the Better Boardsmanship Award, which goes to 49 individuals, plus five school districts in which the majority of their board members have dedicated time and work to board training and advocacy efforts: Decorah, Johnston, East Mills, Le Mars and West Delaware.

For more information about the two-day convention, please visit www.ia-sb.org/convention.

IASB is a private, nonprofit organization representing Iowa’s 346 school districts, 9 area education agencies and 15 community colleges.